Getting an International Relations degree, especially a Master’s, will give you the tools to bring real change to the world. How? To answer that you must first understand what the scope of International Relations is and what you can do with it.
In this career, you’ll be able to maintain positive diplomatic relations between countries, prevent international conflicts, and ensure things run smoothly between governments in our highly interconnected world.
With an International Relations degree, you will have a broad set of career options in addition to politics, including ones in fields like economics, social systems, and the cultural life of communities.
Pursuing an International Relations degree will provide you with great insights into foreign affairs, public policies, international development, economic trends, social issues, law, and more.
But what are your International Relations career options? Popular International Relations degree jobs include diplomacy work, lobbying, political analysis, international law, and intelligence.
1. Diplomat - Maintaining good relations between countries
With an International Relations degree, you can become a diplomat. You will represent and protect your nation's interests abroad regarding politics, trade, and consular services. You’ll usually spend around three years in a foreign country. Some of your responsibilities will be:
- Act as a link between the country you represent and the country where you are stationed
- Collect and report on all the information that would affect your nation’s interests
- Discuss, negotiate, and mediate with the local government issues about peace and war, trade, commerce, economics, as well as social and cultural aspects
Check out a selection of international Master's degrees in Diplomacy.
2. Intelligence Specialist - Gathering state-critical information
For you, the scope of International Relations might be to become an intelligence specialist. Thus, you can work in the military, the navy, national security departments, or almost any state department of national government agencies. Your main duties will include:
- Collect and analyse operational intelligence data
- Create mission reports using data, maps, and charts
- Evaluate results and prepare reports, statistics, and graphics
- Maintain intelligence databases, libraries, and files
Check out a selection of international Master's degrees in Intelligence.
3. Political Analyst - Explaining the political climate
Becoming a political analyst can be another outcome of an International Relations degree. Generally, this means employment by the government, but you can also find work opportunities within media companies or research institutes. Your tasks will be to:
- Inform about and interpret various political developments
- Analyse laws, public policies, and government decisions
- Advise government officials, political parties, or the media
- Forecast political trends and election results
- Put events into historical context
4. Lobbyist - Promoting ideas to those who can make them a reality
Many graduates of an International Relations degree become lobbyists. They are usually hired by an association, corporation, or non-profit organisation to convince government members to make decisions that would benefit the organisation or company they are representing.As a lobbyist you will perform tasks like:
- Monitoring, researching and analysing legislation
- Attending congressional hearings
- Reaching out to government policymakers
- Using communication tools to promote ideas to the public
5. Communication Specialist in a non-profit
An International Relations degree can land you a job in a non-profit organisation that operates at an international level. As a Communications Specialist, you’ll have the chance to develop your career in a local office that has a global reach.Non-profit agencies like World Vision and Red Cross provide such global service, but there are many other options, too. Your main duties will be:
- Creating effective communication strategies
- Handling internal communications
- Writing content for media and social networks
Graduates of an International Relations degree can pursue even more careers in the field. Discover them for yourself by diving into the wide range of Master’s all over the world connected to this popular subject.
Average International Relations jobs salaries
Being passionate about your job and doing something meaningful to you and beneficial to society is great. Still, at the end of the month, you’ll have to pay bills, buy food, and spoil yourself a bit. For this, you’ll need money. Let’s look at the average salaries in the US for popular career paths after graduating with an International Relations degree.
- Diplomat – 87,000 USD/year
- Intelligence Specialist – 75,500 USD/year
- Political Analyst – 94,000 USD/year
- Lobbyist – 87,500 USD/year
- Communication Specialist – 55,000 USD/year
To have a successful career in one of these fields, make sure that during your studies you develop the right skills, such as learning at least two foreign languages, level-up your communication skills, persuasion and negotiation abilities, creativity, and problem-solving skills.
Don't know where to start? Here are a few universities we recommend for a good International Relations degree:
- Northeastern University, the US
- Queen Mary University of London, the UK
- Radboud University, the Netherlands
- University of Pavia, Italy
- Masaryk University, the Czech Republic